Testing weather has organisers thinking on their feet at Skandia Sail for Gold
It has been a testing week for those behind the scenes at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta.
Conditions have varied from torrential rain and heavy winds to hot and bright with a light wind, leaving sailors in all classes facing a re-schedule of their races.
But it is all good practice for them ahead of the Olympics in two months’ time at the very same venue in Weymouth.
Tim Hall, the Sail for Gold event director, is pleased with how the first four days have passed – in testing conditions.
“The British weather has thrown pretty much everything at us so far,” he said.
“From the sun and the light wind on the first day then a bit more wind and torrential rain in the last couple of days. We have coped so far and it is looking good.
“(As organisers) when conditions change we are thinking about the different race area options we have got, we generally keep all our classes to a same race area each day.
“What we are thinking of now is using some of the safer areas, where in the real high winds we might be able to bring people into sail in Portland harbour when Weymouth bay is too windy.”
Among the competitive classes, there has been much for British sailors to be happy with as several battle for medals including the likes of Ben Ainslie in the finn and Andrew Simpson and Iain Percy in the star – both Olympic-medal favourites.
Stephen Park, Team GB’s sailing manager, wants all to continue to get the most out of the Olympic venue.
“Getting used to the venue and getting accustomed to the local area, to the marina, the slipway, all that is part of your daily routine,” he said.
“Particularly the visiting teams will be keen to do that. From a British team perspective we are fortunate because we are based here all-year round.
“A number of the other teams actually are based here now so it’s not a massive home advantage.
“We of course have been sailing here now for many years so most of our sailors are well-acquainted.
“Getting used to the venue and the local area is certainly a big learning curve.”
“But he stalled out and there was plenty of noise!”
McIntyre had been meaning to get back in the water for some time, and was keen to do it ahead of the home Games.
“For me this was just a nostalgia trip really,” he said.
“I never sailed the star again after winning the Olympics in 1988, and I had always meant to but never got around to it.
“It just seemed appropriate seeing as this was going to be the last open regatta in the UK before the star leaves the Olympics.”
Grant added: “The competitive juices were definitely flowing. We had our best start just before and managed to get to wind with the world champion and get ahead of him, so we will certainly take that one away!”
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com.